New Chief Scientist of WA appointed

Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett today announced the appointment of Professor Peter Klinken as the new Chief Scientist of Western Australia.

Professor Klinken is a leading Western Australian medical research scientist and visionary leader. He is highly regarded for advancing the understanding of genes involved in leukaemia, cancer and anaemia, and his many research achievements include the discovery of a gene that supresses the growth of tumours.

Mr Barnett welcomed Professor Klinken as the new Chief Scientist and said the role provided contemporary expert advice on science to the State Government.

“The Chief Scientist provides important input to support the Government in building the State’s science industries to achieve future prosperity for West Australians,” he said.

“Professor Klinken brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to the role and I very much look forward to working with him.”

Professor Klinken played a key role in establishing the State’s premier adult medical research institute, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (previously the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research) in 1998.

Under his stewardship, the institute attracted world-class national and international researchers to the State and made many acclaimed medical discoveries.

Professor Klinken also spearheaded the development of two new state-of-the-art medical research facilities, Perkins North in Nedlands (QEII Medical Centre) and Perkins South in Murdoch (Fiona Stanley Hospital). Together the facilities will house more than 800 researchers.

Fact File

  • For more information about Professor Peter Klinken and the role of Chief Scientist, visit http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/SCIENCE
  • Professor Bruce Hobbs AO was the inaugural Chief Scientist (2003-2006), followed by Professor Lyn Beazley AO (2006 to 2013)
  • Professor Klinken’s appointment officially commences on July 1

Professor Peter Klinken – Biography

Professor Klinken obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from The University of Western Australia (UWA) in 1982 and was a Fogarty International Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC from 1984 to 1987.

He then returned to Australia to work at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne as a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postdoctoral Fellow between 1987 and 1988. In 1989, Professor Klinken became a Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at UWA, before being appointed Professor of Clinical Biochemistry at UWA/Royal Perth Hospital in 1994.

From 1998 to 2000, Professor Klinken served as the inaugural Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (previously the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research). Between 2000 and 2002, Professor Klinken was the Director of Research at Royal Perth Hospital, before returning to the role of Director at the Perkins Institute in 2002.

Under his stewardship, the Perkins Institute attracted world-class researchers and saw an increase in staff numbers from 35 in 2002 to 250 in 2014. Over the years, the institute’s multi-disciplinary research teams have secured more than $100million in national and international competitive grants and made numerous acclaimed discoveries. The research has also led to biotechnology spin-offs, creating high-tech jobs and attracting further investment into the State.

Professor Klinken supported the establishment of Linear Clinical Research Ltd in 2010. Founded by the Perkins Institute, Linear is a facility for early phase clinical trials of new drugs and therapies.

Professor Klinken also spear-headed the development of two new state-of-the-art medical research facilities, Perkins North in Nedlands (QEII Medical Centre) and Perkins South in Murdoch (Fiona Stanley Hospital). Professor Klinken secured more than $195million for the project from the Commonwealth and State governments and UWA. Perkins North was officially launched in March 2014 and Perkins South is due to open later this year. Together, the two facilities will house more than 800 researchers.

Professor Klinken stepped down from the role of Director of the Harry Perkins Institute in March 2014. He continues to undertake a number of research activities at the institute, working with the Leukaemia Research Group.

Professor Klinken’s research focuses on the genes involved in leukaemia, cancer and anaemia. In 2004, he discovered the gene known as HLS5 which suppresses the growth of tumours. Professor Klinken’s research has featured in various high-impact science journals and led to six national/international patents. In addition to his research, Professor Klinken has participated in a range of teaching activities and served on a wide number of committees, boards and assessment panels.

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